Thursday, December 29, 2016
2016 – A Year of Growing Positiveness
I entered 2016 with lots of hope after the rollercoaster emotional ride of 2015. The selling of one home and the buying and moving into a new, smaller home left me drained and I wanted 2016 to be the exciting new chapters of a new book in my life.
Renovations in the new house continued with a custom-designed and built kitchen and a choice of unusual colors. I felt a driving need to surround myself with color. However, the work on the house continued to drain most of my energy even when I wasn’t doing the physical work. I didn’t have anything left to put much effort into writing, photography, or drawing. I felt the floundering of 2015 was ongoing. Where was I going in my art career?
But there was also a part of me that understood I had to patient because sometimes “… hope would be hope for the wrong thing.” I felt a change coming. I knew the inspirations and drives would return.
The photography got a spark when, beginning February 1, a couple of us started a photo-a-day challenge for 100 days. I was unsure if I would keep up with it, but we were having so much fun, we kept going and are still doing it. Making time to take photographs led me into looking at things differently. It also makes me pay attention to the interesting beauty that’s all around me.
Spring came and I caught the gardening spark. Melissa, at Agway, said that plants they have early are OK to plant early, so I filled the back of my car with pansies, violas, English daisies, and Johnny jump-ups. I filled flower boxes and lined the back porch railing. Then as the weather warmed, I cleaned out the front gardens. I wasn’t sure of all the plants there, but I wanted more and subsequent trips to Agway had me filling those gardens and making more garden areas.
The garage was the next big project and that led to creating more gardens as I strived to “Sasha-fy” my house. I bought lilies from The Lily Lady in Sutton and created a lily garden. The drought almost put an end to the outside garden projects, but a “water angel” offered to fill my rain barrels. She also gave me more lilies and I extended the lily garden. With her help, I continued to water the plants throughout the summer.
In the meantime, I was reading books by Brene Brown and one by Doreen Virtue. Brown writes a lot about the same issues I like to talk about (and she’s done years of research). I wanted to “change how I think by changing what I think about.” I am highly bothered by commercialism and mistruths, false advertising, and all the depressing news we are bombarded with on a daily basis. Even though I don’t listen to the news or read about it, it still seeps in. And with the ugliest presidential campaigning ever, I had to do something for my own sanity.
I began to redo the affirmation cards I made years ago using colored index card (still all about color). I post these around the house to provide constant positive messaging. I read some of them daily, often changing them around, and still occasionally making new ones. This has made a huge change in my demeanor.
Late summer had a new farmer’s porch built on the front of the house and the end of August into September had me driving to Wichita, Kansas, for my oldest grandson’s wedding. That turned into quite the 16-day adventure! The funny thing is I whined and complained throughout the whole trip, but once I got home, I realized how amazing it really was and how brave I was. I would do it again in a heartbeat! That realization and the commitment to experience more positiveness in life is transferring to the current book and I’m reliving the adventure as I write the story and edit the photos.
I was inspired to get a Fitbit to motivate me into exercise. I am not so good at motivating myself and this is getting me up out of the chair and moving. I also joined Coach.me in which I developed a list of daily goals. I am actually doing more every day. I’m back to meditating, doing Tai Chi, I added leg lifts to my exercise routine, and because I have the online check-off list, I push myself to accomplish everything. I also cut back my caffeine intake to one mug a day (I like coffee too much to totally give it up).
I wanted to share my new found positivity and desire to live a whole-hearted life and I came up with the idea to do these short “Dear Divine Presence” letters which I post daily on Facebook. One, this is my attempt to post positive messages in the face of all the negativity that bombards us on a daily level. Two, this is my way of giving back for all the wonderful things and messages I receive.
So, 2016 had a renewal in photography, writing, and mental well-being, but what about drawing? The desire to draw never went away for the two years I put the charcoal aside. I thought about it all the time, but never found the ambition to go to the easel. I had a number of unfinished drawings taped to various easel boards.
Blam! October slammed me new inspiration. I don’t even know where it came from (maybe from the Divine Presence prayers or just being more open to The Muse or…). I found myself at the drawing board and not only was I back to drawing, but my style has taken on a new persona, and once more, it’s all about color. The charcoal with just a hint of color pastel has turned into background layers of charcoal and lots of bright pastel color.
Suddenly, after not doing any drawing since … well, I finished one I’d started in 2014 in January 2016, I did two drawings in a couple of weeks and a third by Christmas. The funny thing is, the four scenes are spring, summer, autumn, and winter, in that order. I hadn’t planned that. Now I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store!
In closing, I would like to add that one of the most positive experiences of this year is the community support I’ve received. I was so hesitant to move to Hillsborough, but the people in this community have been so nice. People have graciously assisted me in whatever help I’ve needed. I am so grateful.
Plus my very good friend lives across the brook and we get together once a week for Weekly Wednesday Winefest where we might work on a project (she’s been instrumental in helping me downsize and organize) or we just sit with our glass of wine and enjoy the most amazing conversations.
It seems in today’s society there is less and less community. People don’t have time any more. We are human beings and humans need connection to others. We can’t save the world, but we can do our part to help each other. This is my goal for the coming year.